• termite
  • A soft-bodied insect of the order Isoptera; individuals feed on cellulose and live in colonies with a caste system comprising three types of functional individuals: sterile workers and soldiers, and the reproductives. Also known as white ant.
Abstract from DBPedia
    Termites are small insects that live in colonies and have distinct castes (eusocial) and feed on wood or other dead plant matter. Termites comprise the infraorder Isoptera, or alternatively the epifamily Termitoidae, within the order Blattodea (along with cockroaches). Termites were once classified in a separate order from cockroaches, but recent phylogenetic studies indicate that they evolved from cockroaches, as they are deeply nested within the group, and the sister group to wood eating cockroaches of the genus Cryptocercus. Previous estimates suggested the divergence took place during the Jurassic or Triassic. More recent estimates suggest that they have an origin during the Late Jurassic, with the first fossil records in the Early Cretaceous. About 3,106 species are currently described, with a few hundred more left to be described. Although these insects are often called "white ants", they are not ants, and are not closely related to ants. Like ants and some bees and wasps from the separate order Hymenoptera, termites divide as "workers" and "soldiers" that are usually sterile. All colonies have fertile males called "kings" and one or more fertile females called "queens". Termites mostly feed on dead plant material and cellulose, generally in the form of wood, leaf litter, soil, or animal dung. Termites are major detritivores, particularly in the subtropical and tropical regions, and their recycling of wood and plant matter is of considerable ecological importance. Termites are among the most successful groups of insects on Earth, colonising most landmasses except Antarctica. Their colonies range in size from a few hundred individuals to enormous societies with several million individuals. Termite queens have the longest known lifespan of any insect, with some queens reportedly living up to 30 to 50 years. Unlike ants, which undergo a complete metamorphosis, each individual termite goes through an incomplete metamorphosis that proceeds through egg, nymph, and adult stages. Colonies are described as superorganisms because the termites form part of a self-regulating entity: the colony itself. Termites have several effects on humans. They are a delicacy in the diet of some human cultures and are used in many traditional medicines. Several hundred species are economically significant as pests that can cause serious damage to buildings, crops, or plantation forests. Some species, such as the West Indian drywood termite (Cryptotermes brevis), are regarded as invasive species.

    シロアリ(白蟻)は、昆虫綱ゴキブリ目シロアリ下目 (Isoptera) 、あるいはシロアリ目の昆虫の総称(詳細はの項を参照)。 主に植物遺体を食べる社会性昆虫である。いわゆる蟻塚のほとんどは、シロアリによって作られる。アリとはまったく異なる系統の昆虫だが、アリのように女王シロアリを中心としたコロニーを形成し、コロニーには数百から数百万の個体が生息する。 シロアリにはヤマトシロアリ、イエシロアリのような下等シロアリとキノコシロアリのような沖縄以南に分布する高等シロアリがある。家屋に被害を与えるのは下等シロアリである。 木造家屋などに棲みつき木材(場合によってはコンクリートやプラスチック、動物の死骸なども食い荒らすこともある)を食い荒らす害虫として忌み嫌われるが、自然界においてはセルロースの分解に携わる重要な働きを持つ。近年ではシロアリの消化器官内のによるセルロース分解プロセスがバイオマスエタノールやバイオガスの製造に役立つ事が期待され、研究が進められる。

    (Source: http://dbpedia.org/resource/Termite)